Senior editors at Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao Daily are facing a backlash from the staff union over a decision to change the headline on a story about the July 1 handover anniversary march.
The union is denouncing the move as an interference with press freedom and for setting a bad precedent. Also, it raised questions about who is ultimately responsible for editorial decisions in the newspaper, the union said.
Ming Pao’s July 2 headline was changed to the arrest of hundreds of protesters during a sit-in while the original headline about the 510,000-strong turnout for the march was turned into a subhead.
The change was made by editorial director Lui Ka-ming in the middle of the print run and required the presses to be stopped, the newspaper said.
Chief editor Cheung Kin-bor said Lui was correct to reflect the latest news on police removing protesters in the early hours of July 2.
However, Cheung said there is a mechanism for urgent editorial changes after the newspaper has gone to print.
At the time of the change, Cheung, the night managing editor and the night assistant managing editor said they knew nothing of the decision to stop press and change the headline.
Lui said his intentions were to bring readers the latest news and explained these to Cheung the next morning. He said Cheung appreciated his decision.
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